Financial literacy

Financial Literacy for Young Albertans – Red Deer Advocate

Financial literacy is essential to successfully manage major life events.

Many of us have had significant life experiences where financial literacy would have been helpful: maybe budgeting for college, signing a mortgage, getting a loan, running a small business or buying a car, and of course, do his taxes. .

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Why didn’t they teach us that in school?”

Why haven’t we learned how to save, how to invest, how to use an RRSP or tax-free savings account, and how to manage debt.

For generations, we have all asked ourselves the same question. While we’re learning other math skills that prepare us for a range of jobs, like carpenters, accountants and, yes, even rocket scientists, we’ve underprepared our students for basic life skills. .

As parents, many of us have managed to grope through these life experiences, while learning along the way. Many of us have sought to teach our children valuable life lessons about how to manage their allowance and birthday money, and how to save for the things they would like to buy.

But parents are only part of the equation. It is high time for schools to improve the financial skills they provide and which our children need for their future success.

To address this issue, we are implementing new financial literacy knowledge and skills into the K-6 curriculum, so all students in these grades will learn important money management skills. starting in September 2022. Financial literacy will also be woven throughout future 7-12 years degree programs.

It’s also why, last year, our government invested $1 million in a pilot program focused on financial literacy training for students in grades 3 to 12, reaching more than 250,000 children. Students learned important skills including how to manage money, budget, and understand student credit and loans. Both teachers and students gave the pilot program high marks. In response to one of the programs, 80% of participating teachers felt that the platform was exceptionally user-friendly and that students felt 3x more comfortable with money after taking the course.

The program has been so successful that we have decided to extend it as part of our Alberta at Work initiative. This new $5 million commitment will impact more than 360,000 students in grades 3-12. Students will learn to understand their financial situation, to establish a budget, to understand how credit works and to maintain good credit and, above all, to save money and make their savings grow.

Although the program is aimed at individual students, over time it will have a ripple effect on Alberta’s economy as a whole. It will create a better informed and more efficient workforce, jobs in the financial sector and entrepreneurs who are the engine of our province.

Financial literacy is not just a course, but comes with life experience. We hope this increased investment in ensuring this key life skill is included in the Alberta curriculum is the first step towards lifelong financial health.

We believe that this investment will give young Albertans the confidence to make smart financial decisions throughout their lives and that we can say goodbye to the phrase “Why didn’t they teach us this in school?” »

Adriana LaGrange is Alberta’s Minister of Education and Travis Toews is Alberta’s Minister of Finance.